J.C. Harris Co. to close after 100 years on Clematis Street

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The pressures of the modern-day economy will force J.C. Harris Co., one of the oldest retailers on Clematis Street, to close its doors after 100 years in business.

The men's clothing store has been owned and operated by the Harris family since 1913.

"My grandfather started this store in 1913," said Robert Harris. "Like my Daddy said, "times change." And, in the last 30 years, 75 to 80 percent of the small, independent men's stores have gone out of business."

Harris said the store couldn't keep up.

The height of its heyday was in the 1960s when stores like his were common on Clematis Street.

The stores didn't have competition from malls or box box retailers.

"We held on for the last couple of years just to make 100 years. We haven't made any money but we hung on and paid our bills," Harris said.

The recession is over but many small businesses are still struggling.

Across the country, a recent survey found that about one third of them feared that they, too, may have to close this year.

Harris said the store would begin its close-out on Friday, March 1st.

The store was expected to close as early as this Spring, he said.

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